Dutch court judgement may determine the rights of 1.2 million UK expats in Europe

Published:  18 Jan at 6 PM
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A court case brought by five UK nationals to a court in the Netherlands could mean citizenship rights for 1.2 million British expats.

The aim of the court case is to persuade the Dutch judge to apply for clarification of UK expats’ citizenship rights to the European Court of Justice. Should the judge agree this course of action and ECJ rules in the expats’ favour, the door could be opened for all UK nationals in EU member states to retain essential rights such as freedom of movement.
According to a BBC report, the ECJ, acting under European law, could rule all 27 European Union states must guarantee the full rights of British expats at present in residence.

The ‘famous five’ are being backed by several pro-Remain groups including the Commercial Anglo Dutch Society, and are supported by well-known London lawyer Jolyon Maugham. Ahead of the proceedings at an Amsterdam court, Maugham told reporters he is ‘very concerned over the repercussions of losing their European citizenship for the million UK citizens living and working in Europe’. Some progress on citizens’ rights has been made to date during the Brexit negotiations, but a number of the most important rights including freedom of movement are still on the undecided list.

During the hearing, Dutch lawyer Christiaan Albertingk Thijm argued that the Lisbon Treaty’s Article 20 grants European citizenship to all nationals of EU member states as an addition to their local nationality. He added the case concerns UK expats who’ve made use of their rights as EU citizens to integrate fully into other member states and who’ve found work, paid taxes and produced families. They are people, he said, who are able to state they are Europeans. The judge is due to announce his decision in three weeks from the date of the hearing.
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